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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Estonia examines impact of assessing competitiveness and exposure to shocks integrating global value chains (GVCs). This paper strengthens the analytical underpinnings of competitiveness assessments and exposure to shocks by incorporating GVCs. Standard real effective exchange rates (REER) indexes assume trade is only in final goods. However, like most European economies, Estonia is highly integrated into GVCs. This implies that assessments of competitiveness should consider trade in value added. Based on a structural model, the paper assesses competitiveness and exposure to trade shocks accounting for the GVC participation in Estonia. The analysis using a REER index considering the GVC architecture suggests potential competitiveness problems in Estonia. The paper also estimates the impact of overvaluation (and appreciation) of the GVC related REER measure on value added export and real GDP growth and finds observable effects. Further, trade tension induced tariff hikes may have important costs for value added produced in Estonia.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Estonia discusses that the outlook is favorable for the near term, however, for slower economic activity for the medium term. Th economy has performed well in recent years, supported by prudent management and effective structural reforms. Growth remains strong and unemployment is at a record low. Inflation is above the euro-area average, consistent with Estonia’s convergence process. Wages are rising, reflecting a tight labor market and skill shortages at the high end of the labor market. Absent reforms to boost productivity and manage demographic challenges, however, growth will slow notably. The authorities need to guard against potential overheating in the near term while taking advantage of sizable fiscal buffers in the medium term to support innovation and labor supply and reduce inequality. The report recommends that it is imperative to consider changes that preserve the pension system’s viability and sustainability, while promoting policies that address inequality. This includes raising female labor participation through broader implementation of gender pay transparency and flexible childcare arrangements.
Dmitry Plotnikov
This paper presents a structural model of crime and output. Individuals make an occupational choice between criminal and legal activities. The return to becoming a criminal is endogenously determined in a general equilibrium together with the level of crime and economic activity. I calibrate the model to the Northern Triangle countries and conduct several policy experiments. I find that for a country like Honduras crime reduces GDP by about 3 percent through its negative effect on employment indirectly, in addition to direct costs of crime associated with material losses, which are in line with literature estimates. Also, the model generates a non-linear effect of crime on output and vice versa. On average I find that a one percent increase in output per capita implies about ½ percent decline in crime, while a decrease of about 5 percent in crime leads to about one percent increase in output per capita. These positive effects are larger if the initial level of crime is larger.
Ms. Anja Baum, Clay Hackney, Mr. Paulo A Medas, and Mouhamadou Sy
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are present in key sectors of the economies around the world. While they can provide an important public service, there is widespread concern that their activities are negatively affected by corruption. However, there is limited cross-country analysis on the costs of corruption for SOEs. We present new evidence on how corruption affects the performance of SOEs using firm level data across a large number of countries. One striking result is that SOEs perform as well as private firms in core sectors when corruption is low. Taking advantage of a novel database reforms, we also show that SOE governance reforms can generate significant performance gains.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Lithuanian economy has continued to enjoy a strong macroeconomic and fiscal performance, but long-term challenges remain largely unaddressed. The continued strong economic performance suggests that a neutral fiscal stance would have been preferable in the year 2019. The report discusses that Lithuania needs sustained productivity gains to ensure higher living standards and convergence with Western Europe. Macroeconomic and financial stability is a prerequisite for sustained growth and has been achieved through prudent policies and labor market flexibility. Nevertheless, significant and well-identified structural challenges have yet to be addressed with ambitiously designed and decisively implemented productivity-enhancing reforms. The current expansionary cyclical environment and strong fiscal and external positions provide an ideal opportunity to address these challenges. Fintech provides big opportunities to improve financial services and produce high-skill jobs; however, it also brings challenges, particularly related to antimoney laundering. The authorities’ efforts to promote fintech are already delivering results.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Germany’s economic performance has been strong for the past decade, but external factors and structural challenges are now weighing on growth. The export-dependent economy has been hit by the recent slowdown in global demand, while medium-term growth is expected to fall due to low productivity growth and adverse demographics. External imbalances remain large, partly reflecting rising top income inequality, macro-financial vulnerabilities are rising, and the financial sector continues to suffer from weak profitability. Still, fundamentals are sound, with public and private balance sheets remaining healthy, and the unemployment rate at record lows. Inflation is subdued, but wage growth is continuing to pick up, reflecting the strength of the labor market and increasingly binding capacity constraints.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Latvia’s government revenues overperformed in 2017, buoyed by strong economic activity and wage growth. Nonetheless, the 2017 general government structural balance recorded a deficit of 0.8 percent of GDP, which resulted in a positive fiscal impulse rendering fiscal policy procyclical. Despite the suspension of activities of Latvia’s third largest bank on money laundering concerns, the banking system remains well capitalized and liquid, with capital-to-risk-weighted assets of 22.4 percent and liquid assets exceeding 80 percent of short-term liabilities at end-March 2018. Deleveraging of both households and nonfinancial corporations continued, with household debt to income now at half of its pre-crisis levels.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper documents the main features of the current monetary policy regime in Mozambique, describe ongoing structural policy changes announced by the central bank, and analyze the main challenges facing the central bank in the process to modernize its monetary policy framework. Recognizing the signaling value of interest rates to anchor inflation expectations and help influence market interest rates, the paper usefully focuses on the needed reforms to enable the central bank to successfully replace monetary aggregates by interest rate as the main instrument of monetary policy. Deepening the understanding of the obstacles on the way to a smooth monetary transmission, further building the central bank inflation forecasting capacity, strengthening the coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, enhancing central bank communications and modernizing the legal framework to ensure central bank operational autonomy are essential to the success of the new monetary regime. Importantly, the presence of a committed and strong technical team and a reform-oriented management should greatly facilitate the implementation of these vital central bank reforms.